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Tartu Theme: Cyberpolitics

Cyber Politics
Section Number
Section Chair
Jasmin Fitzpatrick
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Section Co-Chair
Jonas Israel
Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf

The impact of the invention of the internet has been compared to other human milestones like Gutenberg’s printing press or even the alphabet. No wonder, Cyberpolitics have developed into an important research field over the last two decades. Almost every part of political science deals with aspects of the digital world. Making this the theme section for Tartu again emphasizes the importance of this emergent and vibrant research field. This section proposal highlights the facets of the flourishing world of Cyberpolitics. Our proposed panels mirror different perspectives – bottom-up and top-down – different methods and different levels – micro, meso and macro. This section focusses on the variety of the Internet and Politics sphere. The strength of this set up is that it enables researchers to compare approaches and methods and discuss Internet related advancements from different perspectives, e.g. the role of political parties in the Internet, new forms of online political participation or new problems regarding cyber warfare. The global scope of the web also allows young researchers from all ECPR member institutions and beyond to contribute to the debate and discuss their latest findings. In order to provide a setting designed for fruitful exchange on approaches and problems of Internet and Politics, we would like to run the following five core panels.

a. Parties and Political Organizations on the Internet (Regina Renner, Wuerzburg/Germany)
Parties as well as other political organizations such as civil society organizations (CSOs) have to adapt to the challenges of the digital world. First studies have shown that some parties deal with this adaption process well while others struggle a bit more. In this panel, we would like to discuss determinants for adaptation as well as encourage papers that use comparative approaches to analyse parties or party systems. Can political organizations afford not to use social media? How do parties and CSOs engage with members/voters in a dialogue via the web? It is also interesting to evaluate social media strategies of parties and CSOs. Are there best practices? Or are there tools or applications parties and CSOs should not implement online?

b. Governance and Political Participation online (Nadja Wilker, Duesseldorf/Germany)
Democracy has been extended by the emergence of the Internet. Besides new forms (e.g. liquid democracy), there are also new ways and roles for participation. Citizens can be involved online in new ways, innovative actors are developed and organization of politics has been renewed. This panel will focus on papers with different approaches: How do government officials use the Internet to include citizens and to improve governance? What new concepts of e-participation and e-governance exist? How does the administration apparatus cope with the new possibilities? Which citizens are using new forms of online participation and why? How do new modes of governance and participation online interact with traditional modes?

c. Social Movements in the digital sphere (Jasmin Fitzpatrick, Mainz/Germany)
It is hard to imagine times when social movements existed without adherents posting pictures online, calling for protests and coordinating via social media channels. We would like to encourage papers that highlight some of these movements from a digital perspective. How do activists use apps/social media to mobilize crowds? Are there policy fields where social movements use social media more often? What are features these new movements operating online as well as offline?

d. Voting Advice Applications (Jonas Israel, Duesseldorf/Germany)
During recent years, online tools such as Voting Advice Applications (VAAs) have spread in Europe and beyond. These tools compare users’ policy positions with parties’ positions and at the end show the proximity between users and parties. Papers in this panel can focus on different questions: Who uses VAAs and why? What effects can VAAs have on their users or on parties? What methodological problems need to be solved providing VAAs? How can parties be positioned with VAAs?

e. Cyber Warfare and cyber security (Luigi Martino, Florence/Italy)
One of the urgent problems in the modern age is cyber warfare and cyber security. Wars and conflicts between countries do not take place on the real battlefield anymore – there are massive conflicts that are settled online, e.g. in hacking firewalls, entering computer systems and stealing sensitive information. In this panel, we will include papers dealing with the following questions: Which strategies do countries develop regarding their cyber security? Which role has cyber security in modern warfare? Which countries are attacked and which countries are aggressors in cyber warfare?

The ECPR Standing Group on Internet and Politics ( officially endorses this Section Proposal.

Section Chair: Jasmin Fitzpatrick ( is a PhD candidate and research assistant at the Department of Political Science at the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz (Germany). Her work focusses on political participation, political organizations, civil society and social media. Jasmin Fitzpatrick chaired the panel “Innovative Approaches to the Study of Voting Behaviour and Campaigns” and was the discussant for the panel “Contextual Factors in Voting Research” at the ECPR Graduate Conference in Innsbruck 2014. She presented a paper at the ECPR General Conference in Glasgow/Scotland 2014 and was member of the local committee for the ECPR Joint Sessions 2013 in Mainz. She is a member of Maecenata Research College for young academics (Berlin).

Section Co-Chair: Jonas Israel ( is a PhD candidate and research assistant at the Department of Political Science at the Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf (Germany). His work focusses on political parties, political (online) communication and Voting Advice Applications (VAAs) – especially the German Wahl-O-Mat. Jonas Israel has published articles about effects of Voting Advice Applications and the role of parties in VAAs. He chaired a Panel on Voting Advice Applications at the 2014 ECPR Graduate Conference and presented papers at 2012 ECPR Graduate in Bremen/Germany, 2013 ECPR General Conference in Bordeaux/France, 2014 ECPR General Conference in Glasgow/Scotland and 2015 EPSA General Conference in Vienna/Austria.

This Section is also endorsed by ECPR Research Network Voting Advice Applications

Panel List

Code Title Details
P21Cyber Warfare and Cyber Security View Panel Details
P38Governance and Participation Online View Panel Details
P63Parties and Political Organizations on the Internet View Panel Details
P71Political Participation Online: The User’s Perspective View Panel Details
P84Social Movements in the Digital Sphere View Panel Details
P98Voting Advice Applications View Panel Details
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